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Learning to Argue

From Merriam-Webster

ARGUE

intransitive verb

1:  to give reasons for or against something :  reason <argue for a new policy>

2:  to contend or disagree in words :  dispute <argue about money>

transitive verb

1:  to give evidence of :  indicate <the facts argue his innocence>

2:  to consider the pros and cons of :  discuss <argue an issue>

3:  to prove or try to prove by giving reasons :  maintain<asking for a chance to argue his case>

4:  to persuade by giving reasons :  induce <couldn’t argue her out ofargue

Perhaps I am not the only one to notice that the last few years people are very angry when encountering an opinion that is different from what they hold dear.  The most common response seems to resort to name calling and using words that only inflame the situation.  The second most common response seems to be retreat, like “unfriending” someone on Facebook merely because their viewpoint on one aspect of life is not aligned with your own.

Way back in the dark ages, when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher had us prepare a series of speeches. The primary purpose was to help us get more comfortable talking in front of a group of people, but the different assignments had other goals as well.

I don’t remember all the issues we had to address. One was to present a travelogue and I was lucky. My family had been taking vacations around the United States since I was 3 years old and I had a lot of slides to pull to compile a  speech that showed some highlights around the country. My dad let me keep the collection and it is fun to see some of the people and places that made an impression on me.Miss Rivera

The most important speech, however, was “Persuasive Argument”. Most of us presented points we wish we could make to our parents about letting us do something they had already disallowed. Age appropriate, of course.550px-Persuade-Your-Parents-to-Let-You-Wear-Makeup-Step-4

But all of us can learn to “sell” our viewpoints if we wish someone to hear us. When I became a real estate salesperson I was trained by my broker to learn to accept the “no” because we will hear many no’s before we have a “yes.”

I got better training when working for a financial adviser. There it was called “overcoming objections.” For that to work you HAVE to listen, let them talk, while keeping careful notes of what their issues are. Then, point by point, address each one, calmly and rationally, until they agree. Then the next. Then the next. As you gain the small yes to each point, you end up persuading them to your side of the view.

From Merriam Webster

PERSUADE

1:  to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action

2:  to plead with :  urgepersuasive-writing-techniques